Island Apollo are one of the more interesting bands to come out of California recently. The band comes fresh off a change in name (they used to be called The Bolts), as well as musical direction. Graduating from college and coming to terms with adulthood, the five-piece stepped out of their comforts and into an electric five song EP that beckons even the most stiff hipped musical connoisseur to dance recklessly. Their influences alone will pique your interest. Arcade Fire, Billy Joel, Weezer, The Killers, Queen, and Michael Jackson are just a few of the genres they are able to mix into their sound. “I think if you want to find success as a band, you can blend in with a genre that is on the rise and have a nice record deal, followers, and radio play for a few years. But if you want to have a career, and real fans, you need to create something that is new. The bands I respect the most, and seem to have survived, are those that have created a sound that was different than the bulk of the music being produced at that time” lead vocalist and guitarist Ryan Kilpatrick states. Unknowingly, he has brilliantly illustrated Ear to the Ground’s entire mission statement with this quote. A hard working band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, the band from Long Beach has blended sounds past and present to create something new entirely. The end result of their latest effort is a fun, precise, and creative blend of soaring pop vocals and enjoyable guitar breakaways. What I loved most about this EP is how it made me feel. Whether it was to lower my foot to stomp with the beat, or to raise my voice to sing in harmony, Island Apollo demanded my body interact with their sound and live boldly in the richest sense possible.
Their breakout single “Lion Eyes” beautifully illustrates the mind and heart of a man wrestling with his human condition. “Sometimes I fear the thoughts that I keep to myself and it makes me feel like I am just an animal,” sings Kilpatrick over searing instrumentation. Lyrically this tune refreshingly turns the stale love song structure upside down. This is guaranteed to make you a believer in Island Apollo.
“Miracle” starts with a kung fu type guitar part before the unfolding of a disastrous relationship. Unrequited love has never sounded so positively catchy. This tune illustrates all of the things the band does well – soulful vocals, danceable guitar parts, and backing chants that make you sing along.
I am usually suspicious of bands that are billed as the “next big thing”, however if there is any justice in the world, Island Apollo will be the next big thing in indie rock. A band of confidence and authenticity, they command your attention and admiration as they start their steady ascent into the popular music atmosphere. Give them a shot, and they could very easily become your new favorite band.
For fans of: dancing badly, perfect amount of guitar sway, Young the Giant and Panic! at the Disco, soulful vocals, the “next big thing”